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Review: Ov Hell - The Underworld Regime
Ov Hell
The Underworld Regime

Label: Prosthetic Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 37:35
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: May 22, 2010
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
The Underworld Regime

Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (24 Votes)

This album has received a lot of bad press and frankly I don't see why. Of course the fact that this is kind of an all-star band which includes Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir doesn't help on paper, and there's King from Gorgoroth as well as a few others. Personally I don't really care nor have any expectations when members from known bands get together to release something, so I listened to this with no preconceptions and no expectations. And I like what I heard.

The Underworld Regime reminds me a lot of the Black Metal style that was getting popular around the turn of the millennium – not the über-symphonic stuff but the cleaner, richer style that followed the whole necro 90s. Throw in some Thrash in here – while I won't go as far as to categorize the album as Black/Thrash, there are some songs (and part of songs) that really belong in that category. Some parts even reminded me a little bit of the heavy, rich, dark and catchy sound from Deströyer 666's Phoenix Rising (without actually sounding like D666 – take a chill pill – but some parallels can be drawn, check out "Post Modern Sadist" for a good example.)

The vocals are mostly excellent. The rasps are intelligible enough if you pay very close attention and they also convey a very dark, evil vibe that darkens even the mellower melodic passages here. Sometimes the vocals just try to reach for your throat through the speakers – check out the beginning of "Acts of Sin." The music itself is more or less varied. Lots of speed, a good dose of blast beats that surprisingly don't get too tiring, but also rich, loaded guitar work (that varies a little though) that treats you to as much "robotic" monotone shredding (which can get old quick here and there) as it does intricate melodies. And I'm not talking "pretty melodies" here, as The Underworld Regime is just as dark as you can image the underworld to be.

The Underworld Regime won't please the necro crowd, but those who don't mind some cleaner, richer, well-produced and varied Black Metal might get a kick out of this.

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